New York Post Online Edition






May 21, 2005 -- Technology is so advanced these days that there's no need for paper backups when the city buys new electronic voting machines, Mayor Bloomberg said yesterday.


"I would do it without a paper trail," Bloomberg said on his weekly WABC radio show.


"If you are worried about honesty in computers and their reliability, don't get in an airplane, because you'd never get off the ground, don't get on a subway, don't get in your car anymore."


Bloomberg's position puts him at odds with his Democratic rivals, who argue that a paper backup is necessary and prudent.


But the mayor said computers are "phenomenally reliable" these days.


"Sure, you're always going to have a breakdown. You're never going to have a set of voting machines that is 100 percent reliable, but you can come pretty close."


Bloomberg now finds himself unintentionally allied with Roberto Ramirez, chief political adviser to Democratic mayoral front-runner Fernando Ferrer.


Ramirez has a $120,000- a-year lobbying contract with VoteHere Inc., which is pushing to sell voting machines without paper trails.


Earlier this month, state lawmakers announced that they couldn't agree on what kind of new voting machines the state should buy to comply with new federal guidelines.


The lawmakers suggested that each county make its own decision in order to qualify for $153 million in federal funds made available for voting-machine upgrades.


Ferrer said paper backups would provide added assurance that every vote gets counted.


"That Mayor Bloomberg would take that assurance away from voters shows that he doesn't understand how important it is to New Yorkers that their voices be heard and their votes counted," he said.


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